Al Gore Blasts Skeptics, Says He Wishes Global Warming Wasn’t Real

There’s a mounting movement to discredit research that our world is warming.  In recent months a report by the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change had portions retracted due to inaccuracy, leading to questions about its chief Rajendra Pachauri.  And in Britain, the fallout from the Climate Research Unit leaked email scandal continues.

Al Gore, oft a popular target of snide remarks by climate change skeptics, is back in the spotlight after delivering an impassioned commentary about these recent events, published in The New York Times.  

His message is relatively straightforward; he writes, “Scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged.”

In the piece, Gore says he wishes that climate change wasn’t real.  He states, “It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it…We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.”

“I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion.”

In the article he directly addresses the recent controversies, a somewhat unusual tactic.  He does, however, take issue with the idea that the mistakes amount to intentional deception or change the accuracy of the overall picture.

He likens climate denialism to denials about tobacco’s health impact.  He writes, “Over the years, as the science has become clearer and clearer, some industries and companies whose business plans are dependent on unrestrained pollution of the atmospheric commons have become ever more entrenched. They are ferociously fighting against the mildest regulation — just as tobacco companies blocked constraints on the marketing of cigarettes for four decades after science confirmed the link of cigarettes to diseases of the lung and the heart.”

Gore is advocating the “cap-and-trade” bill championed by President Barack Obama be passed.  The bill was passed by the U.S. House and is currently being debated by the U.S. Senate.  In his op-ed, Gore writes, “Because the world still relies on leadership from the United States, the failure by the Senate to pass legislation intended to cap American emissions before the Copenhagen meeting guaranteed that the outcome would fall far short of even the minimum needed to build momentum toward a meaningful solution.”

Mr. Gore is deeply invested in the topic of climate change in many ways.  He made millions off his best-selling book and movie, The Inconvenient Truth.  He also reportedly earns at least five figures for speaking engagements at college campuses and public locations.  Gore, already quite wealthy, has also invested heavily in government subsidized green-tech firms, leading some to claim that he is a “carbon billionaire”.

Gore has drawn a great deal of criticism, however.  Donald Trump, a rather famous climate skeptic, has gone as far as to suggest that he should be stripped of the Nobel Peace Prize he received for his climate work.  Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), tweeted a snide response to Gore’s column, writing, “It’s going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries ‘uncle’.”

Gore actually discusses the greater than usual U.S. snowfall in his piece, though.  He writes, “The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth, yet scientists have long pointed out that warmer global temperatures have been increasing the rate of evaporation from the oceans, putting significantly more moisture into the atmosphere — thus causing heavier downfalls of both rain and snow in particular regions, including the Northeastern United States. Just as it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm. “

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